summer vacation…Peru

09/9/2017

This spring, when I started thinking about what I wanted to do for my summer vacation, I swore up and down that I was going to go somewhere relaxing and just drink wine for two weeks. Which is clearly how I ended up on another “adventure” vacation that involved not only literal planes, trains, and automobiles…and boats, but somehow walking up every giant flight of stone steps built by the Incas in the entire Cusco valley. As someone who (internally) grimaces when I visit friends in NYC who live in walkups? This was clearly an excellent idea. But it was absolutely amazing. This is the second trip I’ve taken with the National Geographic Journeys-G Adventures partnership, and it was another solid win. I think I’ve talked at least three other people in my office into taking trips in the two weeks since I’ve been back.

The trip started in Lima (where I arrived a few days early to actually spend some time in Lima), then we flew to Tambopata in the Peruvian Amazon, and then we flew to Cusco, where I hung out with some folks from some other tours while most of my actual tour went off to hike the Inka trail or the Lares Trek. I know my limitations, both in terms of hiking and ability to be a pleasant human being without a bed, shower or bathroom, and opted to not spend three days hiking along a trail that included sites named things like “Dead Woman’s Pass”.

We all reconnected at the place where everyone in Peru eventually arrives – Machu Picchu. At a certain point, with the amount of time people spend talking about it, you start to think it’s overrated and can’t really be that amazing.

It’s that amazing. Not just the construction – the natural beauty of the site by itself is one of the most incredible things I’ve ever experienced. We all had to get on line for the bus to get there at about 4-something in the morning, and it was raining while we stood in this two-hour long line. But the rain stopped by the time we were at the site, and turned into steam coming off the mountains that made us feel like we were actually standing in the clouds. I’m not sure my pictures do it justice, but I sure took a lot of them.

Oh, and as for the wine I planned to drink? The wine in Peru was good, but I ended up not drinking very much of it thanks to the fact that once I got to Cusco the altitude made one glass pretty much my limit. I really need to plan that part better next time!

As always, click on the thumbnails to get bigger pictures and descriptions. These go in the order of the trip.

…and finally, for good measure, to get the full scope of the entire place, I stitched a panorama of the full view of Machu Picchu together (the grey is because I didn’t want to crop it down to make things “even”)…

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recycling

08/6/2017

I realized I haven’t posted anything in about a month, despite the fact that I always still take take pictures. Here’s one I took about a month ago, walking around the village one evening. I love the idea that they re-used the old sign as the base. My theory is actually that new hanging signs like this are actually prohibited (because they have the potential to fall on people’s heads), but the old/existing signs are grandfathered in, so these guys found a loophole. Which is awesome.

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coney island is america

07/16/2017

I try to get out to Coney Island at least once every summer – it changes so much year-to-year, while retaining its essential Coney-ness, that going out to photograph it always seems like a good idea. Not necessarily a good idea? Deciding to do this on a really beautiful, and hot, July 4th. I did try to take precautions, like looking up when the hot dog eating contest was supposed to start (and end), but apparently published times are not accurate. I arrived at 1:30, almost perfectly timed to get trapped in a wall of humanity that was being blocked from moving anywhere while protesters tried to disrupt the main event.

So after that claustrophobic mess, I finally made my way to the boardwalk for my yearly photo stroll. This year with many, many more people. Next year I’m going back to my normal tradition of going out there at 6am on a random non-holiday. Still glad I went. Despite what others might think, New York is the most quintessentially American place on earth.

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ballerina

06/3/2017

Spotted about two weeks ago in Columbus Circle. It took me a minute of watching her twirl around the statue of Columbus to realize she was part of a gimmick being put on by one of the tour bus companies that would drive around the circle periodically.

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high line 2017

05/13/2017

Two separate trips to the high line over the past month. First, in mid-April, some of my long-lost cousins from Israel were in town, so we spent some time together, including a trek on the high line. That was much more about spending time together than getting good photos (and wrangling ten family members on a gorgeous holiday weekend, including toddlers, will throw a wrench in ANY artistic endeavors!). Second was last weekend – the weather was supposed to be wretched, but it ended up not raining (unlike today), so I decided to take advantage of the surprise good weather and spend some time in the open air again.

The two walks were only three weeks apart, but its quite remarkable how much more green there was on the second trip – you can see the distinction from the first few photos, where the trees are barely blooming and the grasses are still mostly brown and barely grown-in, and then the latter photos, where everything is just an absolute explosion of greenery. It’s really no wonder my allergies have been completely haywire for the past few weeks.

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white (or really pink) lies

05/10/2017

I’m distracting myself from our current political dystopian hellscape by going through my backlog of photos that I still need to post.

I took these about a month ago. When I saw this tree, my first thought was that it was really early for it to be blooming like this, but how lucky I was to come across it because it was so pretty. Then I got up close and realized the whole thing was a fake. Cloth flowers and plastic branches. That would certainly explain it.

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grand (east)

05/9/2017

This is also grand street, but much further east. I was walking to meet some (from out-of-town) family for dinner in a corner of the city that I hadn’t really spent much time in before, and managed to find a spot that hadn’t been taken over by the gentrifying hordes. Yet.

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chelsea market

05/7/2017

It’s filled with pretty much the same stores that you can find anywhere, overrun with tourists, and you can see the reflection of google’s headquarters in the windows, but Chelsea market is still in a great relic of a building – one much better repurposed than ton down. So…yay?

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pocket

04/21/2017

I live in a neighborhood with an abundance of parks, but this is my favorite. It was closed last year for repairs, but now it’s open again.

This is the entire thing. Just a tiny little pocket park with benches wedged between two buildings on 71st street. I took these a few weeks ago on the first not-freezing/rainy day of spring.



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subway

04/16/2017

It was a long and arduous process, but over the decades, the New York City subway eventually adopted Helvetica as the font of the NYCT system. The really classic mosaic designs of the IRT system are (to my mind) more beautiful, but for sans serif fonts, nothing beats helvetica.

(I may be biased – helvetica is also the principal font on this site)

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